Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
10 June 1987
Second regular session of 1987
Item 8 of the provisional agenda*
Report of the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission
for Europe (ECE) to the Economic and Social Council on the
question of admitting Israel to ECE
1. The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, in its resolution 1986/67, requested the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe "to consult with States members of the Commission on the question of admitting Israel to the Commission and to report thereon to the Economic and Social Council at its second regular session of 1987".
2. In carrying out this mandate, the Executive Secretary consulted with the authorized representatives of each of the 34 member States of the Commission in period between 13 April 1987 and 4 June 1987. This report reflects the respective positions of the member States as communicated to the Executive Secretary during this period. In agreement with all member States, the consultations were conducted orally.
3. Of the 34 member States of the ECE, two did not respond to the invitation to communicate to the Executive Secretary the position of their Governments on this question. This report therefore reflects the positions of 32 member States of the Commission.
4. Twenty-four member countries
either supported the admission of Israel to ECE or declared they were not opposed or not opposed in principle.
5. Eight member countries were opposed to or not in favor of the admission of Israel to ECE.
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6. Among the ten member countries which support the admission of Israel unconditionally or without reservation, the United States of America, which requested to be identified by name in this context, strongly expressed the view that the principle of universality and the Charter of the United Nations gave Israel the right to be admitted to one of the regional commissions of the United Nations and that both universality and Charter rights were applicable to Israel's application for membership in ECE. The United States would therefore actively support the admission of Israel at the next meeting of the Economic and Social Council.
7. Other countries which also support the admission of Israel unconditionally, referred to the following points:
- Respect for the principle of universality;
- The right of all States members of the United Nations to be admitted to a regional commission as full members as set forth in Economic and Social Council resolution 1986/67;
- The precedent of admission of Israel to regional European groups in other organizations, including the International Labor Organization and the World Health Organization;
- Expectation that Israel would abide by commitments made in the statement of Israel to the Economic and Social Council on 23 July 1986;
- Expectation that membership in ECE would be temporary until such time as it could join the Economic and Social Commission for western Asia (ESCWA);
- Preference for decision by consensus or at least as broad a majority as possible.
8. Among the countries which declared themselves not opposed or not opposed in principle to the admission of Israel to ECE, the following views were expressed:
- Concern that extraneous political issues might be introduced into ECE, which might hamper its work, or into the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) process;
- Concern over possible confrontation in the Commission;
- Since Israel should normally belong to ESCWA, admission to ECE should be provisional as an exception and should not establish a precedent for other countries.
9. A considerable number of these countries reserved their final position which would be taken in the light of latest developments, in particular the results of the consultations by the Executive Secretary. They also expressed the view that Israel should be admitted to ECE by consensus or by the largest possible majority.
10. Some countries, while not opposed in principle to the admission of Israel to ECE, made their position conditional on a consensus of the ECE member countries or declared their intention to abstain if a vote were taken at the Economic and Social Council.
11. Among the eight countries opposed or not in favor of the admission of Israel to ECE, the following views were expressed:
- Israel pursued an aggressive policy against Arab countries, was blocking a Middle East settlement, took an unfriendly stand against socialist countries, and was acting in, disregard of resolutions of United Nations organs;
- The Economic Declaration adopted by the non-aligned countries at Harare in 1986 expressed objections against attempts of the "occupying power" to obtain membership in any of the regional commissions;
- Israel should alter its policies so that it could be admitted to ESCWA where it should belong;
- Membership of Israel in ECE would undermine the principle of consensus;
- Undesirable political elements would be introduced into ECE which would impair the objective of the Commission to develop all-European economic, scientific and technological co-operation;
- Admission of Israel would set a precedent and open the way for admission of other countries outside the region;
- Israel is not part of the CSCE process, which could give rise to problems of implementation of CSCE recommendations in ECE.
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12. The Executive Secretary was not requested in Economic and Social Council resolution 1986/67 to analyze or draw conclusions concerning the results of his consultations. He has attempted, however, to reflect faithfully the views of the ECE member countries, as communicated to him, in order to assist member countries of the Council in their deliberations on this question.